This corn chowder is everything we like in a winter soup. Its base is a super smooth, rich combination of cream, white wine, aromatics, and the corn’s lightly sweet cooking water. To that we’ve added chunks of soft, comforting potato and bacon — as well as crunchy sweet corn, zingy Tabasco, and mild chives, bright flavors that cut through the cream and salt and keep the chowder from feeling too heavy.
We often serve this chowder for lunch, like when we’re taking a long weekend in the mountains — and we generally try to pair it with something green, maybe a roasted broccolini or Bibb lettuce in a warm lemon-garlic butter dressing. That said, it’s also excellent for special occasions, like your partner’s birthday dinner, where it can be a fun appetizer (chowder shots!) or a stunning soup course.
Our tip: Most chowders are thickened with flour, this one is not, so it will make a nice treat for your gluten-free friends and family members.
Servings: 10 to 12
8 ears sweet corn, peeled, kernels cut off, cobs reserved
12 cups water
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced small
1 ½ lb yukon gold potatoes, diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium shallot, minced
8 strips bacon
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups heavy cream
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp Tabasco
2 Tbsp chives, minced
1 cup crème fraîche
- In a medium pot, boil the cobs in 12 cups of water until the liquid reduces by half. Discard the cobs.
- While the corn stock is reducing, cook the bacon in a large dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot until it’s crispy, about 10 minutes. Remove the bacon and set it aside to drain, reserving the pot and the fat for the next step.
- Add the butter and onions to the pot, and sauté until translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add the potato, garlic, shallot, and corn kernels, stirring to combine and pick up all the crispy bits from the bacon. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the wine and simmer until it’s almost completely evaporated.
- Remove 2 cups of the sautéed vegetables and set aside.
- Add the corn stock and cream to the pot, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Transfer the mixture from the pot to a blender and purée it until it’s smooth.
- Return the pureed mixture and the reserved vegetables to the pot. Season with salt, pepper, paprika, Tabasco, and chives, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
- Serve in soup bowls with a garnish of crème fraîche and chives.